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Role Modeling, Risk and Resilience in California Adolescents (Journal of Adolescent Health)

January 1, 2011

CHIS Journal Article

Authors: David Grant, PhD, Samantha Kurosky, Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, Ritesh Mistry

Using data from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey, the authors studied the relationship between role model presence, type of role model, and various health-risk and health-protective behaviors among California adolescents.

Fifty-nine percent of adolescents identified a role model. Affluent teens were more likely to have a role model than lower income teens. Role models were generally of the same ethnicity and gender as the teens; ethnic congruence was higher among African Americans and whites than Latinos and Asians; gender congruence was higher among males. Type of role model was significantly associated with health-related behaviors. Identification of a teacher was strongly associated with positive health behaviors. Correlations with health-promoting behaviors were generally smaller in magnitude but consistently positive among family member and athlete role models. Peer or entertainer role models were associated with health-risk behaviors.

Not only role model presence but also the type of role model is an important predictor of adolescent health-related behaviors. Their findings have implications for designing youth-targeted interventions and policies involving role models.

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